John Day, N. Fork - 2. Dale to Monument

John Day, N. Fork, Oregon, US


2. Dale to Monument

Usual Difficulty II (varies with level)
Length 44 Miles

F Chee and C Panks, PTCC

F Chee and C Panks, PTCC
Photo taken 05/28/99 @ high runnable

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-14046000 800 - 10000 cfs II 01h10m 189 cfs (too low)

River Description

A snowmelt run emerging from the Blue Mountains with the peak usually coming in May. The first half of  the run flows through Ponderosa pine forest and then transitions to the desert terrain of eastern Oregon. This is a classic 3 day trip.


Full description in Soggy Sneakers, Oregon River Tours, and Western Whitewater.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2011-03-16 06:03:23

Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
June 1 2004 (5341 days ago)
Karen HensleyDetails
The gage listed above is not the right one for the North Fork of the John Day. Look instead at


The river gets only slightly more difficult (3- in my estimation) for levels higher than the max
suggested level on this page. The rapids mostly become washed out with larger waves, and the river
becomes more continuous, making it harder to rescue a swimmer. We put in at 9,000 CFS (on Monument
gage) and floated for 3 days taking out at about 5,500 CFS. Others in Paddle Trails Club have told
me they have done similar levels in open canoes. At higher levels you have a chance of sneaking the
rapid "Surprise" on the right, but only if you recognize it in time and there is no wood.
Both of those things happened to me in my kayak at 8,200 CFS but it is not much harder going right
through the middle anyhow.

The take-out at Monument is about a quarter mile downstream of the the bridge, on river-right. Peer
through the willows looking for a small boat ramp where there is now a nice parking lot with picnic
tables and a toilet. Some guidebooks still tell you to take out at the bridge.